Cold and Rainy Weekend

We got a taste of what it should be like in Minnesota in April this weekend. So I caught up on my sleep and saw some movies. The best was A Life Without Pain. I found it on comcast digital's on demand free movies list.

We also said goodbye to Father David Blume today. He's not going far - just heading a few miles north to be pastor at St Patrick's in Oak Grove. He's only been at St Stephens for a couple years, but he was there for us through some tough times. He came to Children's Hospital to baptize Luke before his first surgery and said mass Luke's funeral. Just as we were about to leave, Father Blume remembered that there was a mis-comminication for the altar server training and that Lauren only made it for the last few minutes. So as he was trying to figure out how he was going to be sure to get Lauren trained, I pointed out that she served at mass today. With that revelation, he realized he could let that one go. We'll miss you Father Blume.


Infield Dirt On My Shoes

The St Stephens JV White got through their first 2 games. Monday was a miserable cold and wet afternoon. Like Charlie Brown has been praying for rain in the strib all week, so should have we. We got through it though, and the boys were back for more on a much nicer Wednesday afternoon. The sun was shining and Evan was making his first start at pitcher - ever. He struck out 5 in his 2 innings of work and we were in the game. We had a rough time in the 3rd, giving up 9 runs, but other than that, we played with St Vincents. Final score was 15-2. A marked improvement over our 25-0 loss in the first game against Meadow Creek.

We're the only school in the league fielding 2 JV teams, and someone decided to load up JV Blue with all the 7th graders. So we're playing 5th & 6th grade boys against teams starting primarily 7th graders. But I'm proud of the boys for hanging in there and giving their all.

On another topic, Deanna wrote about Luke on a support website for parents dealing with prenatal health issues.

Finally, my Vikes are going with the purple pants! I was hoping they'd stay more traditional and just bring back the purple pants with white jerseys on the road. But these uniforms aren't so bad. Now if we can just get the state legislature to do their jobs and get us that new ballpark for the Twins...


Hope Springs Eternal

We wrapped up spring training for the JV team yesterday afternoon. Even with this rookie head coach, I think we're ready for the season opener against Meadow Creek on Monday. I'm happy to report my KHPBP is still at a nice even 1.00. That's kids hit per batting practice. It's been a new kid each time too. This coach doesn't play favorites.

I was surprised to find out I've got 3 kids who are academically ineligible for our first game. All 3 having trouble in the same subject. A coincidence or do we have a teacher who needs a little priority setting sit down with the dean, athletic director, and coach? That's a joke by the way.



Copy Protection Saga

It took 2 evenings, but I won! My kids have TV programs on their portable gadgets. It's pretty easy now that I have the right tool for the job. That tool is called TVHarmony. In fact, it's so easy my kids will be downloading the shows themselves by the weekend. Just wish someone had told me that before I wasted 2 whole evenings looking for the right tool.

Of course now that I've defeated the evil copy protection monster there's nothing preventing me from distributing copyrighted material to whomever I choose. Nothing but ethics (and the law) that is. I could probably even figure out a way to make money from it if I really wanted to. That's my point. The copy protection protected exactly nothing. Even someone as stupid as I am can see that.



Comics, PSPs, iPods, and copy protection

Before I start today's rant, I want to share something I found quite funny this morning. If you don't read Get Fuzzy and Pearls Before Swine it probably won't strike you as it did me. But this blog is all about me and what I care about. So if you are remotely intrigued, check the archives: Fuzzy; Pearls. It don't get much better than that for a dedicated funny pages guy like me. Sorry about the popups at comics.com.

Now my beef. Who's idea was it to have copy protection take all the pleasure out of the arts? OK - Stick with me for a minute. There's a story behind that one. It's the story of how I spent last evening.

My eldest children had been saving their pennies for quite some time now. Each with a goal to purchase one of the coolest new gadgets on the market. My son purchased his PSP, and daughter her iPod yesterday. I'm quite proud that they both were able to save that much from their allowances and such. Took each of them well over a year. It was no problem getting the games going on the PSP and music on the iPod. But another big attraction to those specific gadgets for each kid was the idea that they could transfer some of their favorite TV programs to the gadget. TiVo + Computer + (PSP or iPod) = portable TV programming (way cool for a pre-teen). So at this point I've spent an entire evening copying TV programs to gadgets, and I've copied a total of 0 TV programs to the PSP and 0 programs to the iPod.

Why is this so hard? Because our system for compensating the people who produce the TV programs, music, movies, or art in general is so screwed up. I'm all for compensating the artists. But wait, aren't some of the richest people in the world these very same artists? And aren't some of the most successful companies in the world the ones that produce and distribute this art? Let's see, my son wanted to watch Star Wars - Clone Wars on his PSP (a cartoon that was broadcast on Nickelodeon). I'm pretty sure George Lucas had something to do with that. Don't think he's living check to check. My daughter wanted to see High School Musical on her iPod (a Disney TV movie). Last I checked the NYSE Disney was doing OK. So it must be this copy protection stuff that assures these artists and distribution companies are fairly compensated for their work. So let me see if I've got this right. The idea of copy protection is to make it as difficult as possible to enjoy the art. This is supposed to assure the artist is fairly compensated. Give me a break.



Head Dance Explained

You know how parenthood can sometimes make you feel real stupid? I know what you're thinking. How can I tell the difference? I must feel that way all the time. Though that may be true, we now have a clue as to why Alondra does the head dance (see earlier post). She has fluid in her ear canal and likely needs tubes. Our pediatrition suspected this because Alondra's ear canals are so small she's never been able to examine them as well as she'd like. She suggested we take Alondra to an ENT specialist. Suspicions confirmed. We're scheduled for surgery on May 2. It's a simple out patient procedure, and we've been through it with Matt. So no major concerns. The procedure does require anesthesia, so we won't take it too lightly.

Now even I can put 2 and 2 together. I bet that head dance causes all sorts of sensations with all that fluid in her ears. No wonder it's so funny.



Rally for Darfur

An op-ed piece in the strib today got me to thinking. What can we do when we hear of atrocities that are happening on the other side of the globe? We live in a global village. But we can't all cross the globe to help feed the hungry in Darfur. We can speak to others in the village who may be unaware of the situation. Awareness is the first step. Once we villagers are aware of the problem, we can find a way to put a stop to it. There is strength in numbers and our numbers are many.

Too few in this global village are aware of what's happening the Darfur region of Sudan. And now the problems are spreading into Chad. We, the global villagers, need to wake up. Many rallies will be held on April 30 to help get the word out. Information about the rally in St. Paul can be found here. For fellow U.S. citizens, there are web forms that only take a few minutes to complete.

Thanks for reading - and Happy Easter.



Head Dance

Recently Alondra has been developing a new dance. I call it the head dance. She cracks herself up. She has several other skills as well. Like rasberry, quack, and roll.

I apologize that the aspect ratio on those vids is off - recorded it at 16:9 and I can't figure out how to get it to display properly after converting it to MPEG for the computer. I may need to ask someone who knows something about computers.



3rd Practice

Just got back from the 3rd practice of the St Stephens JV White baseball team. First time we took live batting practice and I only hit one kid with an inside fastball. Not bad - eh? Well, it was my kid, and he was the only kid at practice. See, we're not all that organized. This is spring break week. The first 2 practices were in the school gym. We had a pretty good turnout for those, but the kids were unexpectedly off from school last Friday so it was tough to get the word out. I expected a low turnout this week - about as low as it can get. Got some good BP in though. We'll hit it hard next week once school is back in session. Remember - you are partially to blame - you could have gotten Troy's dad out there.